Gaining Competitive Advantages Through Supply Chain Management: Success Storie TABLE OF CONTENTS
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DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS
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The business environment has been suffering from fierce competition since the escalation of technology evolution and internet growth had become wildly increasing. To survive in today’s market; the business should be characterized by faster production pace, shorter product life cycles, more innovative and sophisticated, and well-organized. That adds much pressure to the supply chain usability. It should react rapidly, efficiently, and effectively in order to respond to changes happening in the marketplace so as to sustain, and, most importantly, to create competitive advantage. According to Towill and Christopher (2002) the key success of a supply chain is basically determined by the end customer. Delivering the right goods to the right customers at the right price and time is not a guarantee for companies to stay competitive in the market, but it is an inevitable key to survive. As a result, competition between supply chains has become more important rather than competition between individual companies (Christopher, 1992). In B2B, an effective supply chain can create a strong competitive advantage for the firms involved within it. A competitive advantage is defined by the capabilities that an organization can develop for defensible position over its competitors (Li et al., 2006). This goal can be reached in several ways, starting by creating a strong collaboration with companies by working together to make the whole supply chain competitive. The backbone of this strategy requires wide use of information technology in order to share information, and also generate future demand. The primary idea in SCM is that the entire process must be viewed as a one united system. The core competencies of individual organizations are determined and invested for to create supported competitive advantage for the supply chain. This report discusses how a supply chain can create a strong competitive advantage for organizations. In order to give the reader a clear idea about that, several success stories related to some of the most well-known organizations are reviewed. 2. BACKGROUND
The transformation that accompanied the industrial revolution had also a direct impact on supply chains, which forced the latter to apply some changes in order to keep the business updated and adapted. In the past, and to differentiate themselves from their competitors, companies used a combination of factors including quality, price, customer service, product features, and availability. The new nature of competition is driven by critical factors, such as rapid shrinkage of product lifecycles, in which products are placed and replaced on the market faster. High technology and apparel industries could be evident examples of that shrinkage, where new products introduced are quickly replaced by new ones less than within six months. Another driving factor is the growth of internet networks. Selling goods through via webs positively affect sale growth for companies because of the possibility to be connected directly to their end customers. E-business dramatically changed the way companies produce, sell, and distribute products, and even the way they share information with their suppliers and partners. Previously, companies considered information as confidential that need to be protected instead of being shared. The nature of competition has been shifted from company-based to supply-chain-based competition, which encouraged sharing information along a supply chain. Having efficient information systems, companies have not to own all the pieces of a supply chain network, instead, they may consider working as a cooperative...
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